Congee, also known as jook in China and chao in Vietnam, is one of the world's most comforting dishes. It has a mild flavour, but when served with condiments it can be as tasty as your palate demands. Top it with a couple of seared scallops for a little bit of luxe.
- 750 ml (3 cups) chicken stock
- 350 gm (1½ cups) brown rice
- 30 gm ginger, thinly sliced plus extra, finely grated, to serve
- 8 dried scallops
- 2 tbsp vegetable oil
- 12 scallops, cleaned
- To serve: thinly sliced spring onion
Chilli-black bean sauce
- 100 gm long red chillies
- 4 red birdseye chillies, half the seeds discarded
- 100 gm salted black beans, rinsed and finely chopped (see note)
- 2 tbsp peanut oil
- 2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
- 2 tbsp Chinkiang vinegar
- 1 tbsp white sugar, or to taste
- 1For chilli-black bean sauce, process chillies and black beans in a small food processor until finely chopped, then fry in oil over low-medium heat to soften (4-5 minutes). Stir in Shaoxing and vinegar, simmer until reduced by half (2-3 minutes), stir in sugar. Refrigerate in a sterile jar for up to 3 weeks.
- 2Bring stock, rice, ginger, scallops and 2.25 litres water to the simmer in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, half-cover with a lid and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture reaches a porridge consistency (1¼-1½ hours). Season to taste with sea salt and coarsely ground white pepper.
- 3Heat oil in a frying pan over high heat, add scallops and sear, turning once, until browned at the edges (30 seconds each side).
- 4Serve congee hot topped with seared scallops, spring onion, grated ginger, coarsely ground white pepper and chilli-black bean sauce.
Note Salted black beans are available in jars from Asian grocers.
Drink Suggestion: Nutty dark porter. Drink suggestion by Max Allen